Board of Directors
After earning his master’s degree in Business Administration from Stanford University, Donald E. Petersen began a lifelong career with Ford Motor Company in 1949. There he was offered ever-increasing levels of responsibility in recognition of his high standards of performance. In 1977, he was made a director, and in 1980 he accepted the dual position of President and Chief Operation Officer. Five years later, Petersen was designated Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, and he remained at the helm until his retirement in 1990.
Petersen’s record of achievements and service extend beyond the corporate world. He served in the U.S. Marine Corp in both World War II and the Korean War, and subsequently was honored with the ‘Semper Fidelis’ Award from the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. In 1981, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Washington, where he completed his undergraduate work. His alma mater, Stanford University, presented him with the Business School Alumni Association’s Arbuckle Award in 1985, in recognition of his outstanding achievements in business management.
Along with other prestigious awards from academia and industry groups, Petersen was presented the American Achievement Award in 1986 by Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina, for “significant contributions to the United States through achievement in the areas of industry, business, science, and the arts.” He also has been bestowed with honorary doctorate degrees in Science (University of Detroit); in Human Letters (Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California); in Engineering (Michigan Technological University); in Law (Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi); and in Business Administration (Providence College).
Petersen’s leadership and expertise has enhanced the stature of several corporate and advisory boards, including the advisory boards of the Juran Center for Leadership in Quality at the University of Minnesota, and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington.
Currently, Petersen and his wife reside in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.